The latest Miami news reports three incidents of battery and misdemeanors charged against officers from three precincts
In a recent twist in Miami News State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced on Wednesday afternoon January 12, 2022, that three police officers from three separate precincts had been charged with three separate incidents of battery.
These charges come in the wake of a thorough investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), which revealed multiple counts and incidents of battery, misconduct, misdemeanor, and wrongdoing.
The three officers who were named in the case are Miami-Dade’s Joseph Diaz, Javier Castano, who worked for the Miami Gardens Police Department, and Capt. Sergio Perez, from the Opa-Locka Police Department.
Out of them, two of the cases, namely Perez and Castano, were caught on record, with video evidence from their body cams. Due to this, they have been charged with misdemeanor battery, while Diaz has been charged with official misconduct and battery.
The 35-year-old Capt. Perez was charged for tasing Sgt. Michael Steel. The investigation for this case was carried out following an anonymous tip sent to the FDLE, stating a verbal altercation between both officers, and Perez tased Steel, who did not have any protective gear on.
This incident was not involved in or resulted from any kind of training process, which is why there are more severe consequences for it. It resulted in Sgt. Steel being visibly injured and hurt by the incident, leading to Officer Perez being charged.
Officer Castano was part of the police officers from Miami Gardens who responded to a complaint regarding a driver doing donuts in a RaceTrac parking lot. The incident, which took place in March 2020, just shy of the BLM riots that involved similar misconduct, showed Castaono kicking the suspect’s friend Miguel McKay in the face. Furthermore, he also placed his knee on McKay’s neck, a misstep that also cost George Floyd his life.
Police Chief Delma Noel-Pratt announced soon after (in June 2020) that both officers being investigated by the FDLE had been relieved of their duty. The other officer was accused of not downloading his bodycam footage, which was mandated after every shift.
This comes at an exceptionally disappointing time, given that the Miami police had been helpful in safeguarding protestors demonstrating during the Black Lives Matter Movement in 2020.
Officer Diaz was brought in to respond to a complaint regarding an intoxicated man loitering outside of the Country Club Towers Apartments. The suspect, named Kenny Ortega, had a polite exchange with officer Diaz, but he was heard insulting Officer Diaz as he walked away.
This angered Diaz, who confronted him and ordered him to place his hands behind his head and get on the ground. Ortega refused to comply and was met with aggression by Diaz, who grabbed his shoulder and shoved him to the ground. Diaz later claimed that Ortega had been loud, abrasive, aggressive, and unruly, all of which was falsified when bodycam footage was released.
All three officers are being charged for violating their Oath of Office and their commitments to the Constitution, reminding us how important it is for the people of Miami to raise their voices. Calle Ocho News brings you the latest news and information from Miami and the region in general. We’re covering important events and happenings, including local Miami news and happenings that you can find here. Subscribe to our news publication for more updates and stories from the city.